Poetry Issue 9

   Issue # 9: January-June 2008

Martin Anderson

Archipelago Nights

      Bone white sheen,
      and she has slipped
      quietly away
      from you in sleep,
      the phosphorescence
      of a shallow lingers
      wide, enveloping
      arm, leg

                                    an anthem
      of doomed corals,
      a submerged republic
      that rides up onto
      the waters of the night,
      bring back voices
      over the surf, into
      this quiet

      shuffling back, late
      from that shore
      of lost spirits,
      wasted no time
      in enfolding, street
      by street, an entire
      imago, the chaos
      of your life, in her mind

                                      a skull
      of forsaken memories,
      emporium of dreams, where
      remains of the displaced
      and the exploited grip
      the eyes’ ebb, flight
      towards another coast
      that’s unenveigled, transparent

      the precise angle,
      of the head and feet, the
      body’s disposition, waits
      among the abaca and
      the looms of shipwrecked
      hands, and dances,
      though the signs
      are not propitious

      out of the dried up
      reservoirs, the slums
      of bought-off voters, declining
      to name the price
      of silence, her hands
      arranging the wreaths
      of victims, spread
      and undressed

      with a calla lilly,
      the broken waist
      of the water,
      a bracelet of tiny scars
      round her wrist,
      the blood of indentured labourers
      on haciendas
      darkening her streams

      into each small
      hollow, cove, breathing
      an exile’s prayer, an anthem
      of deception,
      the filth of clogged esteros
      filling the streets,
      you wait,
      uneasily, on the night’s
      escarpment of bone,

      flotsam, gulls,
      and driftwood meet
      the horizon, level with the edge
      of some glittering repose,
      the heart pounds
      solitary, moving
      between itself and others,

      light of moon
      to navigate you through
      reefs, drawing
      around you a fleet of ghosts,
      words – land reform,
      abolition of oligarchy

      tilling air
      to see
      what will grow
      on shifting current.

      like a wafer,
      they dissolve
      upon the tongue
      indigent’s breath,
      flower of the retreating
      jungle, invoking them
      you invoke yourself,

      amidst a catafalque
      of blooms, of horns.
      In desolate barrios,
      bound for foreign
      aquariums, the doomed
      corals of the republic
      raise, like bleached bone,
      their branches up
      into an air in which
      they drown.